Born free launches appeal to give four lions cubs a lifetime home in south africa


Born Free is set to undertake its biggest lion relocation to date after the rescue of four lion cubs from captivity in France. It is now appealing for funds to give the four cubs, known as the Lions of Lyon, a lifetime home at its big cat sanctuary in South Africa.

The four cubs – Horus, Kuuma, Dadou and ‘Girl’, who is yet to be named – are only a few months old, and are believed to have been taken from their mothers before they were weaned. They were rescued from lives facing terrible suffering, and were found to be battling various ailments.

The cubs were each all found in different locations across France, being kept as pets in completely inadequate conditions:

  • Dadou was found on Paris’ most famous street – the Champs-Elysées – in the back of a Lamborghini. His owner was caught taking photos with the cub by police officers. Dadou, is missing the tip of his tail, and is thought to be about seven months old. When he was found, he had weak hind legs, but has now recovered. Dadou’s legal case is waiting to go to court 
  • Horus is the largest of the four cubs and is about seven months old. He was found in reasonably good health on a child’s bed in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris. His owner, who was hiding in a neighbour’s cupboard when Horus was found, had posted images of the cub on Snapchat. He was sentenced to six months in prison for illegally keeping a wild animal

  • Kuuma was found in a garage in Marseille on the same day as Horus. She was very unwell and underweight, with a skin irritation, dull coat, gastrointestinal problems and corneal ulcers. Now thought to be about seven months old, Kuuma has since recovered, but her eyes are being carefully monitored. Her owner has been prosecuted and the case is waiting to go to court
  • ‘Girl’ is the smallest and youngest of the cubs at about five months old. She was surrendered by her owner and was very unwell. She had glaucoma, and was underdeveloped and underweight, with extreme hair loss and diarrhoea. ‘Girl’ is now doing much better – her hair has grown back and she is slowly gaining weight. Her legal case is ongoing.

Thanks to the intervention of the French authorities and Born Free’s partners Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis, the cubs have now all be transferred to a safe location near Lyon while they await their transfer to Born Free’s big cat rescue centre at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa. There, they will receive lifetime care in a safe, spacious and enriching environment, surrounded by the sights and sounds of Africa.

Dr Chris Draper, Head of Animal Welfare & Captivity at Born Free, who is overseeing the relocation of the cubs to South Africa, said: “The tragic stories of these cubs are the direct result from the appalling and continued demand for wild animals as ‘pets’ and in circuses. These four cubs face a happier future in our care, but we must also work to stamp out the trade in wild animals as pets and bring to an end the use of wild animals in circuses once and for all.”

Adopt a lion today to help protect them in the wild and prevent them living a sad life in captivity.

You can help send the Lions of Lyon home to Africa. To find out more and make a donation, click here.

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